How to Have a Safe and Enjoyable Independence Day


Oh boy, who doesn’t just love this time of year! The fireworks, the hot summer nights, the smell of Barbecue every where you go! One of the things I look forward to most around this time of year is the food (though this year it will be a bit different as I won’t be completely gorging myself!). I love the home made potato salad, the BBQ ribs and chicken, the cotton candy and funnel cake at the Independence day gatherings the cities put on…

But one thing that can put a serious damper on the festivities as well as impact you and your family financially is a medical mishap. With the parades (those marching bands are dangerous), the traffic and the fireworks there are plenty of hazards so here are a few tips to keep you safe over the long weekend.

Parade safety tips

Parades are great. They are loud, usually throw candy and have plenty to see which brings the big crowds. Be sure to keep your wits about you and follow these tips to make sure you have the best time and all make it back home safely.

  • If you have children, know where the police mini stations are set up. The local police usually have a kiosk or just a group of police cars in a certain area in case there is a problem at the parade. This would be where lost children are taken when found and where you can report any trouble you have at the parade.
  • Dress appropriately. You won’t enjoy yourself if you or your kids are uncomfortable. Bring a light jacket in case it gets cold at night, apply sunscreen and bug repellant so you don’t regret the parade the next day.
  • If you are bringing a pet along, check the laws to make sure the park or area allows animals.
  • Parking is probably the scariest part of the parade. When it’s over there is a mad dash to the parking lot and everyone tries to avoid any traffic leaving the area. Be careful when walking to your car as drivers may not be as aware of you as they should be. When you are the driver, keep your eye out for small children and slow down until you are clear of the pedestrian area.

Holiday driving safety tips

The AAA estimates an increase in traffic of 17.1% over the days surrounding this great holiday, to bring the people on the road to 34.9 million!

The best thing you can do if you are planning to travel this holiday weekend, or any other, is prepare well. Make sure your car is working properly and know where you are going.

  • If you are traveling an extended distance, know where you plan to stop to rest. The AAA suggests stopping every 90 miles or two hours so that you don’t get drowsy.
  • If you get drowsy, stop driving! Pull over and take a nap at a designated rest stop (with windows up and doors locked of course) or just take a brisk walk and get your blood flowing again.
  • Keep an eye on your gas tank and don’t let it get to empty. Cars behave differently in the heat and you could find that your gas gage is off. Don’t let your tank get empty and risk being stranded on the side of the road during the hottest time of the year.
  • Prepare a kit in case you break down. Include extra gas, water, some non-perishable food, spare fuses, a thermal blanket, a flashlight, a map and some phone numbers to call in case of emergencies. You could even drop in a prepaid phone if you travel frequently.

Firework safety tips

Fireworks can be pretty dangerous. There were over half a dozen deaths and an estimated 7,000 firework related injuries in 2008 with over half of those injured being children. (stats courtesy of the CDC) Take note of these tips to make sure you and your kids remain safe and enjoy the show.

  • Use fireworks as directed. They should not be lit inside or altered in any way.
  • Don’t light fireworks in your hand. Most injuries related to fireworks are to hands and eyes which usually means the injured was either holding the firework while lighting it, or a buddy was holding the firework and pointing it at the unjured.
  • In cases of dud fireworks, do not try and relight them. Duds happen but they could just be a slow fuse and you could hurt yourself when approaching a possible du if it goes off. Let the dud sit at least 20 minutes then soak it in water before disposing of it.
  • Keep the spectators and children a safe distance away from the one lighting the fireworks and have a designated lighter so there aren’t multiple fireworks going off at once.
  • Illegal fireworks are that way for a reason. Most of the deaths related to fireworks were caused due to professional or illegal fireworks being sold to consumers.
  • Always keep water or a fire extenguisher near by in case something goes wrong.

This Independence Day looks to be pretty great and I’m very excited. I have a parade to attend Saturday and another one on Monday! Have a great weekend and be safe out there!

Image by williamcho

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5 People have left comments on this post

» Car CoachNo Gravatar said: { Jul 5, 2010 - 09:07:46 }

Very timely tips! Here in Philly there is no such thing as "parade safety". Especially sports parades or the New Years Day Mummer's parade. Love this town, but it definitely has some fanatical people that love to get up and start drinking at 7am for any occassion…..which can be fun as an adult, but not so much for the kiddees.
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jmichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Thanks Coach, I've heard how Philly operates 🙂 I think I'd have to watch it all on the telly instead. I had a hard time just dealing with the flock of soccer moms at the park where I attended festivities this weekend 🙂 It was a blast but the crowds make my skin crawl

» BustorNo Gravatar said: { Jul 6, 2010 - 06:07:18 }

Though the event has passed I think your points hold good for any public occasion and puts sense in having 'pre planning' factor whenever one goes out for such festivals.
We are organized and it tells best when we do organize ourselves.
Great checkpoints there 🙂

jmichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Ya, sorry about the delays, I lost power when this article was in the works and wasn't able to finish it on time 🙂 It's scary when people don't plan because it really throws a wrench into the works for everyone in the general vicinity when their failure to plan causes a ruckus. Thanks for dropping by!

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